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Solar Bears Week in Review: Virginia Splits

Orlando travels north to Norfolk and takes two out of three, including their first successful shootout of the season.

Oleg Sosunov rejoined the Crunch this past week after appearing in 11 games for the Solar Bears.

The Orlando Solar Bears kicked off a season long 9 game road trip last week. First stop? Norfolk, where the Bears faced the Admirals in a three game, week long set.

After a slow start, Orlando found their way over the weekend, taking the last two games, including their first shootout all season.

News and Notes

Before we get started with the games, there was some news at the beginning of the week:

-Forward Brent Pedersen, who is currently with the Manitoba Moose on a PTO, was named the lone Solar Bear ECHL All-Star representative on Monday, as an Eastern Conference alternate. Why alternate, you ask? Well, this year’s set-up of a 3 on 3 tournament, much like the AHL and NHL, consists of an Eastern team, a Western team, and the host Toledo Walleye split into two squads. The full ECHL All-Star event, including the Skills Competition, will be held on Monday, January 21st, and televised by the NHL Network.

-Also on Monday, defenseman Oleg Sosunov was recalled to Syracuse after appearing in 11 games for Orlando, picking up 4 assists.

-On Tuesday, defensemen Michael Brodzinski and Cody Donaghey were recalled to the San Jose Barracuda. To help fill in on the blueline, Carter Struthers, who had participated in Orlando’s training camp, was signed.

Wednesday, 1/9: Norfolk 5, Orlando 2

With a new-look blueline, Orlando kicked off their three game series with the Admirals on Wednesday night.

After a scoreless first period, Norfolk got on the board early in the second, taking a 1-0 lead 4:31 in on a Ben Duffy goal. The marker was his seventh of the season. Jonne Tammela answered that with his 7th midway through the period to tie the game at 1.

Norfolk took the lead back with 7:23 remaining in the second on another 7th goal of the season, this time off the stick of Connor Hurley.

The Admirals put this one away in the third. Darik Angeli’s 5th of the season came 15 seconds into the final period, extending the lead to two. Duffy added his second of the night at the 12:50 mark for a 4-1 Norfolk advantage. Mitch Hults added his fifth goal with 5:52 remaining to cut the Admirals lead to two, but an empty netter by Don Oliveri late sealed the deal.

Charlie Millen took the loss in net for Orlando, stopping 18 of 22 shots.

3 Stars:

3. Connor Hurley (NOR) 1 goal

2. Merrick Madsen (NOR) 39 saves

1. Ben Duffy (NOR) 2 goals, 1 assist

Friday, 1/11: Orlando 4, Norfolk 2

Corbin Boes took over in net, as the Solar Bears and Admirals squared off in game 2 of the three-game set.

This time around, it was Orlando getting off to an early start, as they scored twice in the first 3:44 of the contest. Dylan Fitze (5th) and Tammela (8th) each had goals to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

Early in the second, Kevin Lohan picked up his first ECHL goal at the 3:46 mark for a 3-0 Solar Bears lead. Norfolk was not about to go away quietly, though. Duffy scored his 9th of the season to cut the lead to 3-1.

The Admirals made it interesting late in the game. Angeli scored his 6th to cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:42 remaining. But Trevor Olson scored his 6th into an empty Norfolk net with 28 seconds to go to finish off the win.

Boes picked up his 7th win of the season, stopping 27 of 29 shots. Mathieu Foget added two assists.

3 Stars:

3. Jonne Tammela (ORL) 1 goal

2. Corbin Boes (ORL) 27 saves

1. Kevin Lohan (ORL) 1 goal

Saturday, 1/12: Orlando 5, Norfolk 4 (SO)

Twenty-four hours later, the rubber game of the three game set. Orlando received some reinforcements before the game: Donaghey and Brodzinski returned from San Jose.

It was a highly offensive first period, with both teams combining for five goals. Kelly Klima got the Admirals on the board early in the first with a power play goal, his 3rd of the season. Foget added a power play goal of his own at the 7:29 mark to tie the game at 1. Norfolk then responded with two goals in a span of nine seconds: Duffy (on a power play) and Chris Crane turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 Admiral lead in a blink of an eye. But less than a minute later, Hults added a power play goal to cut the Norfolk lead to one.

Orlando tied the game in the second on a Mike Robinson goal, his second of the season.

Captain Mike Monfredo’s goal at the 5:40 mark in the third put the Solar Bears ahead 4-3. Colby McAuley had a chance to extend the Solar Bears lead with a penalty shot attempt at the 8:58 mark, but was denied by Admirals goaltender Ty Reichenbach. Norfolk re-tied the game at 4 with 11:39 remaining in regulation on Matt McMorrow’s fourth goal of the season.

After an uneventful overtime, it was on to the shootout, the first for the Solar Bears all season. They made it count: Brodzinski and Hults both scored, while Boes stopped Duffy and Klima to clinch the win for Orlando.

Boes finished with 32 saves on 36 shots in 65 minutes of work. Olson added three assists.

3 Stars:

3. Trevor Olson (ORL) 3 assists

2. Ben Duffy (NOR) 1 goal, 1 assist

1. Mitch Hults (ORL) 1 goal, GW SOG

This Week:

The road trip carries on for the Solar Bears, with a 3-in-3 weekend in South Carolina against the Stingrays.